Rumbarger Enjoying Life As a Free Agent Within the cable industry she has always been Carolyn, but to those who know her best, she’s just Carrie. And during her run as an operator, first with Continental, then MediaOne and Comcast – a career that started when she was a 19-year old college intern – Carolyn Rumbarger has always worked hard, always been dedicated, and always thought of herself as a team player. But during that time, she paid a price. For as much as she loved her job and being Carolyn Rumbarger, a person so honest and forthright that one colleague called her, "the real item," she really only got to be Carrie on weekends and in the few remaining hours each day after she left work. But in June, Carolyn found herself leaving Comcast. She had been their VP of sales and marketing in the Washington, DC region, but a few months earlier her boss, Jaye Gamble, had moved to the company created by the new Sprint Nextel venture. His replacement brought in a new team. That left Rumbarger on the outside looking in. For Carolyn, the layoff turned out to be a perfect gift at the perfect time. Married young and divorced after only a few years, she found herself nearing 40 with no husband, no children and, for the first time in her life, no job. But as she sat home following her departure, Carolyn soon realized she had not only the desire to really get to know Carrie, but all the time in the world with which to do it. She told me she holds no ill will toward Comcast, calling them a "remarkable company… I had 16 great years in the industry, and although I had no intention of leaving, I understand the business. If a senior vice president comes in and wants to put a new team in place, I get it." But sitting home she also realized she finally had the chance to do something she always wanted to do, something instilled in her as a young girl; to give back. So while much of the world sat back and complained about the situation in New Orleans, Carrie drove down there to do something about it. She worked with Habitat for Humanity and other charities in St. Bernard’s Parish and New Orleans’ upper 9th ward. She raised thousands of dollars in relief funds. She kept a journal of her thoughts and discoveries. And for the first time in her adult life, she let Carrie – the woman she only got to be when time allowed – start to call the shots. When I caught up with her last week, Carrie was back from New Orleans and enjoying the fall color as she spent some quality time with her family in Pennsylvania. And while she says she still loves the industry, she’s just not ready to go back to work. She told me she’s always been a workaholic, and that her whole life has been a series of different jobs with different companies, with a promotion or two thrown in every few years. But these few months have changed her priorities. "My original intent was to start looking for work in September, but I remember driving through Colorado and Utah thinking, ‘I’m just not ready yet.’," she says. So Carrie has told Carolyn to sit tight, her time will come. At some point, she’ll get her resume together and follow up on some of the offers that continue to come her way; just not now. "(Over the past few years) I found myself saying, ‘I’ve got a great life. I’ve had a great education, been blessed in my career, I have a wonderful family and great friends, but all I’m doing is working.’ And for me it just wasn’t enough anymore." M.C. Antil can be reached at m.c.antil@att.net.

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